Posted at 12:10:05 Hrs. IST
on Feb 07, 2010
Sunday Special - The
Hound Of Heaven ....07 Feb 2010
Dr. Desiraj Dhairyam, the famous Psychotherapist, whose Mental
Institute and Clinic near Madras has achieved International
reputation was the head of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, in
Madras City. He attained His Feet at Madras on the 24th day of
February, 1976. The day previous to his death, he wrote this article
on his experience of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and His supreme
Compassion, which insists on liberating the entangled individual,
however recalcitrant or rejective the person might be. He refers to
the working of this Compassion, as 'pursuit' by the 'Hound of
Heaven', immortalised in the poem of that name by the great mystic,
Francis Thompson. The poet describes in that symbolic song, how he
fled Him down the arches of his years, how he hid from Him under
running laughter and sped from Him up vistaed hopes, but, how with
unhurrying chase and majestic instancy, He pursued him and clasped
him close, assured him, "Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He
whom thou seekest.” Dr. Dhairyam must have had a vision of the truth
of this experience that Thompson has immortalised, for, he was drawn
by the prolific Grace of Bhagawan into the Sai Circle of Love and
The article is a Testament of Faith, a Litany, a Document of
Devotion that Dr. Dhairyam has left for each of us fleeing from the
Feet of the Lord, little knowing that we are the ones He is seeking
to save, sustain and gather into His Loving Fold.
Readers are invited to partake of the inspiration, he imparts and
the hope of fulfillment he implants, in the heart, by the
transparent authenticity of his story.
The poem, 'The Hound of Heaven' by Francis Thompson, has fascinated
me from my youthful days. Now that I look back through the fifty odd
years of my life I feel all the more strongly how the Hound of
Heaven has pursued me, in spite of my best efforts to elude being
I have never wanted to be a 'religious' man, nor do I really feel
the need even now. During my seven years in the United States of
America, I was an adherent of the philosophy of 'humanism' which is
my belief even now, with an important and vital difference. In
earlier days, I embraced the easy and rosy path of Epicureanism:
'Eat, drink, and be merry, for, tomorrow you die.' 'You came into
the world will‑nilly; you are at the mercy of events and death is
not in your hands. Take the cash in hand and live life to the lees'.
Providence had been extremely good to me. Born in moderate luxury,
whatever was desired came in easy. In the States, the climax of
self‑satisfaction was reached with affluence and a good reputation
in my profession and life was a round of parties and gaiety. To give
an example: It was a Saturday night, frolic till 4 a.m. After
consuming a full bottle of whisky, I drove back thirty miles, in the
pre‑dawn. I had run into an island in the traffic and passed out. At
seven in the morning, I was woken up by a policeman. "I had driven
back from an all‑night party, Officer.” "Lucky Guy,” replied the
Constable, enviously. Stretching myself indolently in the car the
world seemed a wonderful place. I recalled Robert Browning's words,
"The snail is on the thorn, the bird is on its wings, and all is
right in God's Heaven.” Thus, the road of drunken‑ness,
licentious‑ness etc., seems paved with sweet smelling roses, fun
and song, until self-destruction sets in, insidiously.
The Hound of Heaven was, ever, pressing me. Life could have been, so
easily a total wreck, addicted to evil habits. God saw to it that
bad friendships wrong ways of thought and action were out of my path
at right moment, in spite of my desperate efforts at continuance.
Productive and constructive work was subtly substituted, leading to
the constructive fulfillment of my inner need. God was showing me
the way to Him through a simplified humanistic philosophy of life.
This way of life asserts: "There may be a God; there may not be a
God. The question is not important. Do good and be good. Actualise
your inner potential as a full human being and thus improve the
quality of life for yourself and others.” I belonged to a number of
Organisations of humanism. They helped. Yet, the important
ingredient was missing; "where is the stimulus, the motivation, to
be good, unless it wells up from the Brotherhood of man and the
Fatherhood of God?" In another way too, the Hound of Heaven has been
protecting my very physical existence. From early infancy, I was
subject to constant ill‑health. Only light intellectual work was
planned for me. At 12 years, my heart stopped and I was given up as
lost. My doctor‑father was beside me and suddenly, I revived. I
have been through a dozen deaths. At 18, learning to pilot a plane I
had two narrow escapes. Once, I was lost in the clouds and was given
up as lost when other planes could not find me; miraculously, I
rediscovered the airport and landed safe. On another occasion, I
made such a bad landing that the Chief Instructor said by any
reason, I should have crashed.
In the U. S. A., in that fast‑moving country, the very first month,
as a `green hour', a well paid job as chauffeur to a salesman
touring the camps attracted me. Untrained in driving powerful cars,
I drove all night on the super‑highway, at 120 M.P.H. Various
accidents occurred and yet, I was saved miraculously, from major
crash. At one stretch, driving with a friend at 60 M.P.H., we hit a
tree and were thrown out and escaped with merely a few scratches.
The Hound of Heaven was constantly behind me.
Even in my career, my path was diverted in spite of my best efforts
to go by different routes. I was accepted in the Air Force during
the war days; but was luckily invalidated due to an eye defect.
Similarly, I got out of being an Officer in the Army. After delving
into various studies, and occupations, by a round‑about route, I
got my training as a clinical psychologist /psychotherapist. I was
all set to live permanently in U.S.A.
Success came my way, quickly‑monetarily, professionally and
socially. Looking back, I now know that the virus of rot was
settling in me and my Immortal soul was in jeopardy. Then, a
tragedy—the sudden demise of my beloved and saintly father—jolted me
out of that contingency. I had to come back to Madras, and develop
my father's Institution, along my lines.
Running the psychotherapy centre has proved to be very fulfilling to
me. It is immensely satisfying to attend to persons with mental
illnesses of various kinds—drug and alcohol addicts, and persons
having emotional problems in work, marriage or in other
inter‑personal relationships. Only an all‑loving and personal God,
interested in the individual, unmindful of demerits, weakness and
sinfulness, can pass them over, protect and chart the course.
The 'Hound of Heaven' had done with its subtle pursuit. He came out,
in the open, in His relentless tracking. In 1960, I married a lady
who had known Swami for 12 years. I had no need for God; but, to
oblige her, I undertook the journey to Puttaparthi, the last part,
by bullock cart. As Bhagawan often says, devotees are 'poles', to
contact new 'poles' for the transmission of His Divine charge. I was
the 'new pole', and, His Presence charged me with the current of His
Swami personally directed our life at every turn, ever consoling and
sustaining and guiding, during four years, of vexatious
litigations. It is needless to detail His all‑encompassing Love and
guidance to each and every one of us. It is as if the Universal
Brahman abhors the seeming separation of the individual 'Jivi' and
perpetually seeks to clear the `Maya' of duality.
Two recent Personal Interventions are worth mentioning: I had gone
to see Bhagawan at Hyderabad. The Raja of Venkatagiri and myself
were returning by the night plane to Madras. The Caravelle, while
taking off, hit a buffalo. Its head and shoulders were torn from the
rest of the body and got jammed into the landing gear, which got
jammed. Emergency was announced. We circled the airport till the
petrol was exhausted and landed without crashing, in spite of the
brakes having failed. The Raja of Venkatagiri and I rushed back to
the Mandir and saw Swami at 5 a.m. Swami passed off this incident
with a smile.
Again, at the recent visit to Puttaparthi, two days ago, I was
wracked with overwhelming chest pain. (Here, I must mention that
Swami had saved me from a heart attack in 1966, at Ooty, of which I
have written elsewhere) This time at Parthi, I could not move a step
because of the pain. As I stood outside the room at West Prasanthi,
Swami came out on His usual 'tour of inspection' of the 'work' in
progress. Casually, but, most unusually, He asked me to accompany
Him. We went round for nearly half a mile.
That evening, as I was seated for Baba's Darshan, I told Mr.
Achuthanandam (our State President) about the pain, expecting
anything to happen, any moment. Bhagawan called us both for an
interview. We heard a long discourse from Bhagawan and I was giving
rapt attention. At the end of the interview, I told Swami of the
pain, and Bhagawan laughed it away.
Next morning, we drove non‑stop to Madras. That night at 1 A.M.,
intense pain woke me up and I was rushed to the hospital. After the
tests, the doctor said, my heart was normal and that it was only
bronchial asthma. Yet, he said puzzled, "You had isccaemia of the
heart, 5 years ago. You don’t have it now. Take it easy,” I said to
myself, "May be, the isccaemia of the heart was not only 5 years
ago, but, also 5 hours ago.”
This has been a personal account. It has not been written to
highlight the 'uniqueness' or the 'special' Providence of God, but,
to stress the theme of the 'Hound of Heaven'. The Hound pursues,
tracks down, and captures every Jiva, in its own unique way,
according to the needs, the peculiarities and potential of the
Jiva. Bhagawan draws people by the millions, because in each and
every case, He pursues and brings the person to His fold.
I am not a philosopher or a religious man well versed in the
religious texts. For them, special paths may be necessary. But, as
Bhagawan said, "To find God is easy and simple.” I find it so.
"Surrender to the God calling you. His Grace will encompass you,
ennoble you, and enable you to reach equilibrium of the mind,
Online Source: sssbpt.org